Girard (2004, 753-754) draws attention to all the new legislation that is being enacted to help the crisis in nursing due to the shortage. She points to the Nurse Education Promotion Act, which will provide grants to associate degree nursing schools and professional nursing organizations to increase nursing education; the Recruitment and Diversity in Nursing Act which will increase the number of minority nursing students; the Rural and Urban Health Care Act which allows nurses with visas to take the National Council Licensure Examination; the Teacher and Nurse Support Act which provides loan forgiveness for RNs and Teachers; and the Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Workforce Enhancement Act which provides better pay and benefits for VA nurses. Girard points out that this legislation is important because with the current shortage, many of a nurse's duties are now being performed by non-nursing staff, and that since no studies have so far offered any evidence that patient care has suffered as a result, nurses need to beware that this situation does not negatively impact the nursing profession.
Beu (2004, 1062) gives some facts and figures on the nursing problem from the recent Nurse in Washington Internship event. From 1992 to 1996, 400,000 nurses entered the profession and 100,000 RNs left, but between 1996 and 2000, there were slightly more than 300,000 new entrants but 150,000 RNs left the profession. Also, in 1980 25.1 percent of RNs were under age 30, but in 2000, only 9.1 percent were under age 30. The population of qualified RNs is aging. Statistics also show that while nurses begin their careers with good salaries, their salaries do not grow along with the economy.
Burge et al (2004, 155-156) report on a self-help program at the Jewish Hospital Healthcare Service